Tobias Bernard is an interaction designer based in Berlin.

I design ethical software, mostly as part of the GNOME Project.

I work at Purism, maker of computers that respect your human rights. My current focus is the OS and apps for the Librem 5 phone.

You can find me on Mastodon and Twitter, read my blog, or send me email.

Recent Work

Most of what I do these days is part of GNOME, a project building an ethical OS accessible to everyone. All of this work is collaborative, but these are some recent initiatives I’ve been a driving force for:

Adaptive Apps—Native apps that work on your desktop, your phone, and everything in between. Over the past 2 years we worked out most of the core design patterns, and ported a number of apps to this new paradigm.

My GUADEC 2019 talk gives an overview of the initiative.

GUADEC 2019 Talk

App Icon System—A new platform app icon style optimized for easy adoption by third party apps. We also made some new design tools to support the new workflow.

Design Guidelines Icon Design Tutorial
Shortwave app icon VectorSlicer app icon Social app icon Nostalgia app icon Drawing app icon Librem5 app icon Foliate app icon Messages app icon Tootle app icon Calendar app icon DejaDup app icon Tunnel app icon

Apps

In addition to my work on the GNOME core system and apps, I've also designed a number of third party apps over the past few years.

Contrast—A fun little app to check if the colors in your designs have enough contrast. Designed by me, and developed by Bilal Elmoussaoui.

Get the app Contrast checker app window comparing light pink to dark purple.

Fragments—A torrent client without all the cruft that makes most torrent clients a bloated mess. Designed by me, and developed by Felix Häcker.

Get the app Fragments torrent client downloading some GNU/Linux distribution ISOs.

Writing & Speaking

I occasionally write articles and speak at conferences, usually about design, ethical technology, or some combination of the two. These are some of my favorites from the last few years:

Semantic Animation—A new, holistic approach to designing animated interfaces. I co-wrote an article on A List Apart about it.

I’ve also given talks about semantic animation at conferences and meetups, including FOSDEM 2018:

There Is No “Linux” Platform—On the state of the “Linux” app ecosystem and why vertical integration is the only way forward.

Read Article

Design-Driven Free Software—My SFSCon 2017 talk on why Free (as in freedom) software needs to embrace design, why that’s hard to pull off, and how we can get there.

Other Projects

Though my focus is interaction design I also do branding, web development, and illustration (among others) from time to time. Some examples:

Nostalgia—A little app I built to make it easy to use Jakub Steiner’s awesome dynamic default wallpapers from past GNOME releases.

Get the app App window with a scrolling list of wallpapers.

Brand for systemd—Like it or not, everything kind of needs a logo these days, even low-level Linux infrastrucure projects.

Brand Guidelines The systemd logo, two brackets with a circle and triangle between them.

Dynasty—A tool for generating visualizations of succession timelines, e.g. all the roman emperors (PDF).

Project website Timeline visualization of the lives and reigns of roman emperors.

Impossible Cities—A collaborative short story and illustration project, inspired by Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

Project website
City drawn with just 6 continuous lines in different colors. City on a cloud, drawn with thin black lines.